Part II of This Old Adobe House…the Stairs…

Several months back I began a post about the floor we removed between our first and second floor. The floor was built over a circular staircase over twenty years ago when the house was converted into a bed and breakfast. When we decided to convert the Cottonwood Inn back into a house we removed the floor.

Removing the floor left a “hanging” door to a deck which was accessible only from the second floor. We needed a solution. I spoke to an architect and a master carpenter but neither could come up with a solution to the problem.

Enter: Mom.

Yes, my mother. She was a general contractor for several years and enjoys engaging in architectural projects for fun.

So, here is an image showing where we were at the point the floor was removed:


And here is a photo of the stairs from the bottom…

The hidden staircase beneath the floor

This was closed off and used as a storage closet. The stairs are quite lovely and massive. 52 inches wide by 10×22 pie shaped wedges.

Here is a picture of the stairs after I  opened the doorway from 32 inches to 52 inches and then rebuilt the frame using lath and plaster (my first experience in working with lath).

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And, here we are constructing our new set of steps to the “hanging door.” That is Eva standing beside the project, keeping an eye on my work…


Yes, those are magic markers laying on the step. We only use professional grade products on all our jobs.


Mom supervising me to make sure everything goes together okay.

Here are the steps once I’ve made a heavy plywood platform for the top. I used scrap lumber for the sides–tongue and groove pieces left over from my pine flooring project.


You can see that I have begun to attach metal lath to the sides in prep for the plastering. This is not fun stuff to work with and it really tears up even the heaviest gloves.

A closer picture picture:


I wish I had taken pictures of the plastering process, but there was just mud and water everywhere. That was unfortunate because I had already stained and polished the steps with Minwax and had to do it all again after!

Anyhow, here it is as of now.


And another from the bottom looking up:


So, there it is.

On order are custom-made wrought iron railings for the platform.

Oh wait…one more picture: Here are Dottie and Lola (and Gloria’s butt) They hung out with me and held lumber while I cut. My hens have skills!



The Birds…

I’ve recently had some requests from my new agent- Jessica Alvarez of Book Ends Literary Agency– for . . . YES!! Bird photos! (This is a woman who has not been trapped beside me on a plane, train, or grocery store line and forced to see pictures of “the children.”)

Here are a few photos of the crew.


This is Freddy, short for Frederica (a la Georgette Heyer). Yes, she is acting like a tom in this photo. I don’t know why she displays like this other than she is a “strange bird.” Once you have birds you understand terms like “silly goose” and “odd duck” and “pecking order.”

Freddy is the least popular bird in the coop and she has done a lot to earn that designation. She messes with every other animal on the property, from a 2 lb chicken to 180 lb dogs. She is a relentless nag, in other words. If this were an island, Freddy would be the first one voted off. She looks big here but is only about 6 lbs. She is a midget white turkey, as is my only tom turkey, Viccus. (see below)

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Here are a bunch of animal butts and Viccus and me. You can also see Freddy and Ms. Squawkers watching.

This is a small group shot of the birds kicking poor Sparky off the bed:


Not only have they kicked him off his dog bed, but they have poohed all over it and mess it up. That is Ms. Squawkers, Viccus, and Lola.

Here are Shmoo and Sparky practicing synchronized sleeping for the next Olympics:


I’d give them a 9.6, but I’m biased.

Here is Micheline, who has all the shredded cheese to herself and is smart enough not to let anyone else know about it:


And here are some naughty geese trying to get in the through the back door…

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From right to left this is Mr. Joshua, Squanto, Snarky, Sid, & Nancy.

Here is the king of the ducks, Jean-Claude Van Duuck:

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And, lastly, here are Gidget and Barbara. It’s kind of like a marathon dance, but in a box, with straw, and another broody hen….